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Russian film crew blasts off to make 1st movie in space

Russian film crew blasts off to make 1st movie in space
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Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian 'Soyuz' spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. Their 'Soyuz MS-19' lifted off as scheduled at 1:55 pm from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and successfully reached the designated orbit.

Space officials reported that the crew was feeling fine and all spacecraft systems were functioning normally.

Peresild and Klimenko are to film segments of a new movie titled 'Challenge', in which a surgeon - played by Peresild - rushes to the space station to save a crew member who suffers a heart condition. After 12 days on the space outpost, they are set to return to Earth with another Russian cosmonaut.

Speaking at a pre-flight news conference recently, 37-year-old Peresild acknowledged that it was challenging for her to adapt to the strict discipline and rigorous demands during the training.

"It was psychologically, physically and morally hard. But I think that once we achieve the goal, all that will seem not so difficult and we will remember it with a smile," said Pereslid.

Shipenko, 38, who has made several commercially successful movies, also described their fast-track, four-month preparation for the flight as tough.

"Of course, we could not make many things at the first try and sometimes even at a third attempt, but it is normal," he said.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian state space corporation 'Roscosmos', was a key force behind the project, describing it as a chance to burnish the nation's space glory and rejecting criticism from some Russian media.

Some commentators argued that the film project would distract the Russian crew and could be awkward to film on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, which is considerably less spacious compared to the US segment. A new Russian lab module, the Nauka, was added in July, but it is yet to be fully integrated into the station.

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